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Area youth receive awards at FIRST® LEGO® League Regional Qualifying Competition at Iowa Lakes Community College

December 2, 2017

Iowa Lakes Community College hosted 13 teams at the Estherville campus Saturday as part of the FIRST® LEGO® League Regional Qualifying Competition. Six teams have been invited to advance to the Championship event at Iowa State University in January. In addition, the Champion’s Award winning team and the Global Innovation Award nominee will participate in the state event.

This year’s theme was Hydro Dynamics and centered around water as young people created ideas on how to find, transport, use or dispose of it.

Regional qualifying teams which have been invited to the championship event at Iowa State include: Spencer Inventors - Sigma; H2Know of Sibley; Meteorites of Estherville; and, Spencer Inventors - Delta. Also advancing is the Flipping Chaos team of Garner which won the Champion’s Award and the PROBOTS of Forest City which won the regional Global Innovation Award and will submit their innovative project solution in Ames in January.

Other awards included the Robot Performance award in which the PROBOTS team of Forest City was honored; the Robot Design winner was the Spencer Inventors – Pi; the Project Award winner was the PROBOTS of Forest City; the Core Values winner was H2Know of Sibley; and the Judges Award winner was the Meteorites of Estherville.

Teams came from seven communities including Algona, Estherville, Forest City, Garner, Sibley, Sioux Rapids and Spencer. 

Participants ages 9-14 can form teams from any group: school, scouts, religious organizations, home school groups or even groups of friends. After the challenge has been released, teams have about three months to design, program and build their robots, and prepare in-depth research presentations related to the challenge theme. Team members can use any LEGO® parts to build their team’s robot – including parts they already own.

This year’s competition also included a FIRST LEGO League Junior Expo which involved young people ages 5-8. This is a growing competition each year. The Junior LEGO teams were the Waterboys of Garner which won the Showmanship Award; the Jail Scream team of Spencer was recognized for Amazing Movement; and the Smarty Thrones of Spencer received the Construction Innovation.  

FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL) is an international program, created by FIRST® and LEGO®, designed to get students interested in and excited about science, technology engineering and math (STEM) – and teach them valuable career and life skills. Students work alongside adult mentors to design, build, program and test autonomous robots using LEGO® MINDSTORMS® and create an innovative solution to a problem as part of their research project. 

FIRST® LEGO® challenges participants to think like scientists and engineers. Throughout their experience, teams operate under the FIRST LEGO League signature set of Core Values, celebrating discovery, teamwork and Gracious Professionalism.®

Each year, FIRST® releases a new challenge that engages teams in hands-on robotics design and scientific research. The theme changes from year to year, allowing students to learn about a variety of subjects. This year’s FIRST® LEGO® League competition revolved around Hydrodynamics where participants are challenged to improve the way people find, transport, use or dispose of water.

To successfully complete the challenge, teams of young people must build and program a LEGO® MINDSTORMS® robot to complete missions, showing adults the ways that kids need and want to learn in the 21st century. Teams also develop their own innovative tools to help others gather knowledge. 

Teams of two to 10 young people, with two adult coaches, participate in the challenge by programming an autonomous robot to score points on a themed playing field (Robot Game), developing a solution to a problem they have identified (Project). Both the Project and the Robot Game are guided by the FLL Core Values. 

Team members also learn valuable life and employment skills which will benefit them no matter which career paths they choose.

This event was put on by volunteer employees and students at Iowa Lakes Community College in conjunction with Iowa State University. For more information on Iowa Lakes Community College and the tournament, visit

For photos from this event, please visit our Facebook page.

For More Information:

Julie Clark, Regional Organizer for the First Lego League and Science Lab Assistant, 712-362-8359

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